Battle Beast – Unholy Savior ALBUM REVIEW

I’ve been meaning to review this for a long time, ever since I started reviewing it’s seemed like an attractive album to review. It was popular, and it was a female fronted heavy metal band, something I’d never heard before. I also have a thing for well done heavy metal, and I always want to listen to more of it, but I didn’t have room for it on my backlog. Finally got to the point where I could add this album about a week ago, when I reset my backlog. One of my friends loves this band, so I was intrigued as to how it would be, considering his taste is not that great, mostly including really popular and entry level metal bands (not like metallica, but like Dimmu Borgir, Blind Guardian, Sabaton [so much Sabaton], stuff like that).

I will say that the female vocalist is not only different for a heavy metal bands, it work out very well for the most part. She does the soaring screams of heavy/power metal absolutely fantastically, almost to the point where I can’t tell that a women is singing. She also has a touch of roughness in her voice, so it doesn’t just sound girly even in the not so screaming sections. The problem comes in the soft sections. There aren’t many on this album, but on tracks like Sea of Dreams (which I’ll get to later in this review) the scratchiness of her voice just doesn’t sound right. Part of it is that there are certain things I except out ofa female voice depending on the situation. I have no background in heavy metal female vocals, so when she sings the real metallic parts, it’s a nice change of pace. But when I hear soft sections, I expect a soft female voice to soothe me. Her voice is not soft at all, and it challenges my preconceived notions of female vocals. Possible bias aside, it just doesn’t sound right to me. Actually, the entire track Sea of Dreams is awful, but again, that’ll come a bit later. Anyway, even when she does sing well, there isn’t a time in this entire album where I feel like a male voice wouldn’t be better. She doesn’t really add anything extra, she is just doing a really good replacement job. That’s all good for women’s rights and such, not so good for the music. It just seems like it’s a compromise to me, and that certainly detracts from the album.

One of the great things about heavy metal and power metal is the potential for awesome solo work. Death and black metal typically don’t have awesome melodies that legitimately sound epic, and don’t focus on how cool the epic whine of a guitar can be. The thing is that only works if you actually focus on melody. Battle Beast seems to just want to show off how fast they can finger tap. Most of the solos are essentially just scales and arpeggios played really fast, with the exception of the solo on Speed and Danger, which actually slows down a little bit and focuses on melody, and is consequentially the best solo on the album. And in general when this band actually does focus on guitar melody, good stuff follows. Unfortunately that’s not all the time.

Unholy Savior has some unholy use of symphonic and 80s styled synths in their music. The worst of it being on Sea of Dreams, and Touch in the Night, both the worst tracks in the album by far. The problem isn’t the fact that they add these elements, it’s how bad it sounds with them. They don’t utilize the symphonics enough to actually make a serious element to this album, it really just sounds like they’re adding for generic epicness effects, and it fails. The worst though is the 80s styled synths. Sea of Dreams literally sounds like a 1980s pop rock track, in every bad way imageinable. Start for the fact that you don’t actually hear a guitar until about 2 minutes in, and then the fact that it doesn’t even sound like a metal track until about 3:30, which is a result of a supposedly emotion climax gone horribly wrong. It really breaks the cheese meter in an awful way, which is made worse by the fact that it was absolutely not needed in this album. Actually they could’ve taken out about half the tracks on this work on it would’ve been made infinitely better. Touch in the Night is the other track that uses these kind of synths, to an arguably even worse degree. The intro to this track is just bad, like really fucking bad. Like, this sounds like it comes from 1983 bad. I don’t who thought bringing back 80s pop style was a good idea, but they need to quit being the music business in 2015. The rest of the song actually instrumentally actually isn’t as cringeworthy, and rather good. It’s more the extremely sensual subject matter that is a bit… uncomfortable. As you can tell by the title Touch in the Night, it’s rather predictably about sex. But not in the “I’m gonna fuck dat princess booty” way, but in the “super cheesy romantic novel which uses 56 euphemisms for the word vagina” way. It really doesn’t belong in a metal album, period. Call me sexist all you want, it just doesn’t fit. I don’t want to come off as someone who thinks metal is a dudes only genre, but if it’s going to be about a girls fantasy, it needs to still have that kind of edge you expect in a metal song. This just seems like it has no edge to it, which to me just doesn’t sound right.

The final thing I really want to mention is how utterly useless the 8th and 9th tracks are. The 8th track, The Black Swordsman, is actually an intro to 9th track, Hero’s Quest. That doesn’t sound so bad, until you realize that these tracks are 1:15 and 2:31 in length respectively. The fact that the intro is almost half as long as the track it’s introducing is one thing, but the fact that they are in total less tan 4 minutes long is another. What makes it even worse is that The Hero’s Quest is completely instrumental. It sounds like there’s going to be lyrics, but it never comes, it just kinda ends with a whimper. Not only is there 0 reason to separate these tracks, there’s 0 reason to include them in the first place. They are the definition of filler.

Actually there’s a lot of filler in this album, in that only about 5 of the tracks are good, 4 of which being the first 4 tracks on the album. 3 are mediocre, 2 are completely useless, and 2 are really bad. I also have confusion as to why the title track, Unholy Savior, is the second track on a 12 track album. Not only is it the longest track on here, it’s clearly the best and would make a fantastic conclusion. Overall, Unholy Savior is all over the place and has a lot of lot of bad wrapped around the good that there is to hear. I can’t really give it a below average score because there is some god here, but I’m certainly giving it the lowest 5 I can possibly give.